Your organization has an open tech position. The position requires specific technical skills and those skills are in demand. You polish the job description and post it on job sites where tech people congregate on the internet. The market research shows that you are offering a fair compensation package. But your position is still open.

Unemployment has been at 3.6% for the past four months. For tech careers, the unemployment rate is even lower, at 1.8% in June. Even with the rumblings about a looming recession, hiring freezes, and layoffs, tech positions remain difficult to fill.

We have previously written that tapping non-traditional talent pools can help ease the shortage of applicants for open positions. It may be time to challenge the sacred tradition of a college degree requirement and dive into a new candidate pool.

Candidates without college degrees

Even in the midst of a talent shortage, 81% of tech employers require a college degree.

Many candidates have gained technical know-how through self-study, on-the-job training, and by obtaining certifications. But often they are not granted interviews because hiring managers believe that if a candidate doesn’t have a degree, they don’t have what it takes to be productive and efficient in a tech role.

This belief shrinks the talent pool for these employers. According to a recent report by Cengage, even though hiring managers believe that the requisite tech skills can be acquired by other means, they still require a candidate to have a four-year degree. Sixteen percent say they require a degree because that is how it has always been done.

Bloomberg shares a graph showing that college enrollment in the United States has been dropping and currently only 40% of college age people are currently enrolled in college or graduate school. That means the talent pool for employers requiring a degree is shrinking further.

Grow the potential talent pool

Hiring managers may need to re-evaluate their hiring criteria. Simply by removing the filter of having a college degree, the talent pool is larger. And by focusing on typically underrepresented groups like women, minorities, and people living in rural communities, it can grow larger.

Colleges and universities are unsuited to providing market-ready education, especially in technical areas that change rapidly. The right skills and the ability to learn new skills is more important and a better indicator of future success than academic ability.

Get help from an expert

Hiring managers may not always have the expertise needed to find and speak to technical candidates in a way that makes the role enticing for them. A professional technical recruiter can often help with using the correct jargon in a job description, researching market rates for compensation, and knowing which certificate programs are true indicators of technical competence.

Reach out to us if you are struggling in this challenging hiring landscape, we are ready to help.